10 More What Ifs About Doctor Who

Ten more ways our favourite programme could have been very, very different

Last week, we talked about various ways in which Doctor Who could have turned out very differently than it did - either because an actor stayed on longer than he did, or a pilot went to series, or things simply worked out in other ways. We covered some of the eternal burning questions, such as what would have happened if the Daleks had gotten their own series, or what would have happened if Sarah Jane Smith had gotten her own series far, far earlier than she did. For the most part, our answers were purely speculative - no one really knows what would have happened if, say, Hartnell had been forced out of the series earlier than he was by his bosses. But in a few cases, we know what could have been, and it makes some of us tear our hair out. Or maybe that's just us... That list was by no means exhaustive, and we'd love to hear your comments and suggestions about ways you feel the show could have gone differently. Perhaps in some alternate universe, there was a long- (or short-) running American series starring Paul McGann; somewhere, Tom Baker came back for every anniversary story; and somehow, Colin Baker didn't get shoved off so unceremoniously. What sorts of things have you wondered about or wished would have happened differently? Let's talk about ten more alternative versions of Doctor Who...

10. What If The Chase Had Been Made Into A Third Feature Film?

Some fans love the Peter Cushing films from the 1960s - and that includes us, by the way. Whatever your take on them may be, their existence can't be denied - nor can the fact that there were almost three of them. After the success of Dr. Who and the Daleks, Amicus Films dove right into producing Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. The first movie was fairly faithful to the first Dalek story, apart from changes to the characters (and making Susan into a little girl whose name is likely 'Sue Who'). The second movie made far greater changes to the source material, and some feel that's all to the better - it condenses the main action, it gives the character of PC Tom Campbell (played by Bernard Cribbins) far more to do (while sidelining Doctor Who's niece Louise, played by Jill Curzon). In many ways it's a tighter story, and it has better special effects. Amicus also had plans to do a third movie based on The Chase. The failure of the second movie at the box office, however, put paid to this. But what if the second movie had been a box office success and a third movie were released in 1967? A movie based on The Chase would likely have seen even more changes. When the second movie premiered on August 5, 1966, the TV series had just aired episode four of The War Machines a few weeks earlier. The Hartnell Doctor would leave our screens just two months later. If a third feature had been filmed, it's not clear whether Peter Cushing would have been asked to return as Dr. Who at all. But let's imagine for a moment that Cushing was asked back. We would also have seen Roberta Tovey return as Susan - Cushing only agreed to do the second movie if she returned for it. Would Tom Campbell or Louise... um, Who have returned for this third movie? Doubtful, since Tom gets a good send-off in the second movie, and why even bother bringing back Louise? Since Susan is returning, despite not appearing in the original story at all, let's imagine that they bring in a new male character, and let's call him Stephen Taylor, just for fun. Why Stephen Taylor, you ask? Because Stephen is the only other character from The Chase worth bringing back. Barbara and Ian's absence would also allow the producers to change the actual chase, or maybe even do away with parts of it altogether. The Marie Celeste? Maybe, if existing ship footage couldn't bring the costs down. The haunted house? Probably - too confusing on the small screen, and too expensive for the big screen. The Empire State Building? Please, yes. Far too expensive even to do a convincing mock-up, and we'd be spared that awful Morton Dill character. The finale on Mechanus between the Daleks and the Mechanoids? Hell, yes - the entire movie could be set there, in fact, were it not for the 'chase' in the title. We know that the proposed title for the movie was Daleks vs. Mechons, presumably relegating the Daleks' main goal in The Chase to kill the Doctor to merely a side issue. You could even still have the robot Doctor, though the way it would give itself away would be quite different - maybe mistaking Stephen for Ian or Tom? Huh. Suddenly the idea of a third Doctor Who movie doesn't sound all that bad...

Tony Whitt has previously written TV, DVD, and comic reviews for CINESCAPE, NOW PLAYING, and iF MAGAZINE. His weekly COMICSCAPE columns from the early 2000s can still be found archived on Mania.com. He has also written a book of gay-themed short stories titled CRESCENT CITY CONNECTIONS, available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format. Whitt currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.